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Home > Nanotechnology Columns > > Victor Bykov (NT-MDT): It was hard, but we continue to grow!

Eugene Birger
Principal Analyst

The interview with Victor Bykov, General Manager of one of the leaders in Russian High Tech - NT-MDT Group of companies- was published in December 2009 by a Russian Moscow region newspaper "41".

January 22nd, 2010

Victor Bykov (NT-MDT): It was hard, but we continue to grow!

It was reprinted also "here":

**Correspondent:** Let's start with the question on current economic crisis. Did it affect your company? Did you have to change your ways?

**Bykov:** No doubts, the crisis affected our life really bad. Even though in the end of last year (2008) while setting our plans for this year we put hard economical restrictions, the beginning of 2009 made it clear that we had been way too optimistic. In reality everything came out much more complicated.
For instance, our line of scanning probe microscopes (they represent a major part of our export) we experienced almost 10 times (!) drop of sales in the first quarter compared with the same period of 2008. So, we had to change our ways.

Professor Victor Bykov NT-MDT Group of Companies founder and General Manager

We went through substantial reorganization in all core departments. Our employees had to work longer hours, we cut on benefits, bonuses, etc, but we didn't set layoffs. We managed to keep safe our unique team of experts and to unite our employees. I consider it our major achievement.

By and by, we succeeded in overcoming last year recession trend and our sales started growing. So, in the middle of the year we were just 2 times behind our 2008 rate, in the third quarter that lag was only 30%, and I believe in our ability even to exceed the 2008 sales by the end of this year. We can see positive results for some market segments even now: our sales in the USA have been 2.5 times higher than in 2008, in China they are twice as high as a year before, and in Europe we can see a 40% increase of the sales.

**Corr.:** Could you highlight your major milestones? What was the most memorable of 2009?

**Bykov:** We moved a lot forward in our projects. First of all, it is the NANOFAB platform. This year we have launched a compact variant of this platform - NANOFAB 25. In this class of equipment the accent is shifted towards analytical capabilities. Such set of equipment is quite affordable for majority of large technological and/or engineering universities.

Speaking about the "NANOFAB 100": platform - we completed installation of a unique research center at "The Kurchatov Institute":, where the team is to exploit this platform in technological research using synchrotron radiation. By the way, in nearest future our synchrotron in Zelenograd will become a new "factory" of unique technologies.

NanoFab 100 - modular platform, which is developed to assemble nanotechnology facilities (NTF) with the cluster arrangement of their modules

The NT-MDT is working on this project with the "State Research Institute of Physical Problems": and the Novosibirsk "Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics":
In traditional segment of our production -scanning probe microscopes (SPM) - there is something to remember too. In 2009 our instrument "SOLVER NEXT": was included in the list of the 100 world's best new technologies by the "R&D Magazine":

SOLVER NEXT - novel dual head system offers both atomic force (AFM) and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) under one hood

Same year we designed a brand new concept of an instrument -"NTEGRA LIFE":, which is a probe microscope for bio-medical research. We have equipped 96 high schools with the NANOEDUCATOR training laboratories for their introduction to the nanoworld.

A substantial achievement in my opinion was also development of unique customer service network and support system. We worked on it several years and it wouldn't be an overstatement to say that today our service system is one of the best in the industry. We are able to compete here with the best American and European companies. It is an example of important relations with customers which, unfortunately, are very rare for Russia at this point.

**Corr.:** What do you expect from the coming year? Do you have any plans for 2010?

**Bykov:** In 2009 we created a powerful foundation for our growth. We have started R&D for several new large projects. For instance, during the next 3 years we are going to develop a brand new line of products - "SPM platform for bio-medical research": with special features for proteins analysis, DNA code reading, and new optical techniques.
We plan on launching a new NANOEDUCATOR next year.

There are 96 high schools in the Russian Federation equipped with the NANOEDUCATOR training laboratories. All over the world there are around 200 such labs installed so far

Certainly we are going to continue developing of our NANOFAB line of products with the accent on technology equipment for nanoelectronics. Also we expect to move substantially forward in the field of nanometrology.

**Corr.:** What could you wish to our readers?

**Bykov:** First of all, I'd like to wish them health, happiness, and good luck in the New Year. My main wish to all of us: don't give up facing challenging times. The NT-MDT company will continue to thrive, and I wish to all of you fulfilling of your New Year resolutions this coming year!

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